This story is not just about lies, stonewalling and the willful destruction of possible evidence.

It is a story about arrogance and abuse of power at the highest levels. It is the story of an agency of the government that has the power to harass and intimidate every taxpayer in America being used by the administration for political purposes.

Back in March of 2012, this information was first reported at a tea party-sponsored candidate’s forum in Beaumont when Bill (on information from his contacts in Washington) warned: “Beware, the IRS is targeting tea party groups just like yours, and if you haven’t felt it yet, you will.

“This is a dangerous thing, not just for you, but for all Americans.”

Most of us in the race were surprised at his statement, but some 27 months later the entire country knows what Bill said is true.

In the past month, several new disclosures have come to light that are hard to believe.

The first is that the hard drive on Lois Lerner’s computer died and that all the emails that could shed light on her IRS-targeting activities had been lost with it.

Computer forensic experts will tell you that even information from crashed hard drives can be recovered. Congress asked to physically examine Lerner’s hard drive.

Then the IRS said it had been recycled and was no longer available. Keep in mind that the IRS officials had known for months that the hard drive had crashed but instead of telling Congress about it, they continued to say that all of the “Lerner emails” would be provided even though they now claim the copies of these emails no longer exist.

Most of us know that government computer files are backed up on servers. Guess what, those backups were erased too! How convenient.

But wait, it gets worse … not only did this happen to Lois Lerner’s emails during the time the IRS targeting was taking place, it happened to six other IRS officials who it just so happens may have been privy to what was going on. Again, how convenient.

Do you remember what happened back in the Nixon presidency when 18 minutes of audio tape were erased by his secretary?

The actions of Nixon led to his impeachment and ultimately his resignation. Is it any wonder that people are starting to draw comparisons between the Watergate and IRS scandals?

Is there any wonder why people doubt the President’s statement that “there is not even a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS?

Again, this is about arrogance and abuse of power by a very powerful federal agency that has the power to harass and intimidate every taxpayer in America, to fine them without going to court first, and to garnish their wages.

Earlier this year, we wrote a column suggesting that a federal sales tax might be a viable alternative to having an income tax.

We didn’t agree on all of the details but we did concur that doing away with an income tax and the IRS might be a good thing.

Given the IRS’s history of targeting groups that don’t agree with the political views of the administration and its willingness to be less than forthcoming with Congress, perhaps it is time to look further into alternatives to having an income tax and dealing with the IRS. Sen. Ted Cruz said as much in recent statements.

On this issue, we concur with our state’s junior senator.

Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius and John Gay are writing a series of columns on timely issues for today. All three ran in the 14th Congressional District primary.

(18) comments

Chris Gimenez

The IRS, the VA, the abuses in the (U)ACA, and all the rest are occurring because the Left knows the DOJ is not going to investigate or prosecute criminal conduct from the Left. That's why the IRS commissioner testilied under oath-because ain't nothin' gonna happen to him or anyone else at the IRS.

Norman Pappous


[thumbup]

Carlos Ponce

Think about your own email. If your home computer were to crash, no problem! You can buy another computer, borrow a friends or go to the library and use theirs (just don't let it keep your user name and password). E-mails are not kept on the individual user computers but on the servers. I checked my account. I've got important stuff dating back to 1998 on my email account. Now I'm not saying that Government computers can be accessed outside the system. If they are wise the servers and individual computers are on a closed system. By law these servers have to be backed up. What's the general rule about keeping tax records in case you are audited? Six Years. IRS keeps your records SIX years.
http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/How-long-should-I-keep-records
If Lois Lerner's individual computer crashed then was trashed, no big deal. The e-mails should be there. Also any email sent to the White House MUST be kept.
http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2009/01/16/judges-emergency-order-preserve-white-house-email/
Judge John Facciola issued an emergency order for the preservation of White House emails. January 16, 2009

Kevin Lang

I heard that the government's servers were antiquated. They didn't have the disk space nor backup capacity to retain copies of all e-mails. So, the e-mails were pulled down to the individual computers and not necessarily backed up. This is in direct contrast to information security guidelines that have been standard practice in industry for quite some time.

carlosrponce, I'm not sure who your e-mail provider is, or how you access your e-mail, but quite likely, if you are using a POP3 client to read your e-mail messages, there's a couple of settings in your client that can change everything you cite. There's one that indicates whether to download the messages to your computer, and another one to indicate what to do with the server copy once downloaded. Some clients just have a blanket Delete/Don't Delete, but most of the current ones allow you to just delete downloaded messages that are more than a certain number of days old.

What the IRS is claiming happened to those e-mail messages is totally plausible. However, it shouldn't have been. It sounds to me that, if this is what really happened, that the root cause is that someone in the IT budgeting or spending area was a bit penny wise and pounds foolish.

What I would do to test the credibility is to ask for some collection of IRS e-mail messages from between 2005 and 2008. Perhaps another set from 2009 and 2010. If it's just as difficult, if not impossible, to collect full sets of those messages, too, then it might be time for people to start considering that the missing e-mail messages have a lot to do with pure neglect of retention guidelines, rather than some plot to cover up stupid behavior.

Carlos Ponce

Well there's a difference between a gmail, an aol, a hotmail etc type of email and one servicing a company or government entity. While working for a local school district, each teacher, administrator had an email account which could be monitored by the district. Student usage was also regulated and certain websites were blocked from access. Since by law IRS emails must be kept I doubt they could have been downloaded directly to each users individual work station and deleted. And don't forget that in 2011 they told everyone that tax refunds might be late due to computer upgrades. (See IRS scrambling to update computers 1/11/2011)
http://www2.readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=278385
The IRS makes it sound like they are using an old Eniac Computer with computer punch cards. Don't buy that nonsense. No company can keep up with new technology. The IRS claims they could use $40 million in new tech and yet they spent $90 million in bonuses, $60,000 in a Star Trek and Gilligan's Island spoofs.

Kevin Lang

Like I said, penny wise and pound foolish. I never said that the IRS didn't have the money to maintain a sustainable back office. I said that if they didn't, and local archives were all they were supporting for "retention", then this is quite feasible. However, it's unlikely that this scenario would be isolated under such a set-up, which is why I recommend looking for other sample periods. Now, the ability to recreate all these other sample periods doesn't necessarily mean that something less than random happened, it would, at least, seem to open the doors that something other than odds caught up to them.

Carlos Ponce

The problem is all "official" emails have to be reported, copied and stored. What about "alias" e-mail accounts. Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson used an alias email account under the name “Richard Windsor” to conduct official business. Another EPA regional administrator resigned shortly after Oversight Committee began investigating him for using a private email address. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also used a secret email address.

Kevin Lang

carlosrponce, nowhere did I say that this follows policy, or any kind of norms. Regardless of how the paper-trail got broken, it should be taken seriously. I'm just saying that if the IRS's infrastructure really was allowed to be that fragile, it's quite likely that these e-mails got lost through random actions, rather than scandalous behavior. That doesn't mean that the e-mails might have been able to uncover a scandal, but the loss may well have not been scandal.

Carlos Ponce

kevjlang, you are too trusting. As for me, I smell a RAT.

Kevin Lang

I don't know what I smell. I think that we need to find out what it is and where it's coming from. Besides, I'm concerned about what we don't smell yet. If we're smelling it, it's quite possibly dead. It's the stuff living in the woodwork that I want to find out about.

If the IRS was dealing with crippled infrastructure, most likely it was dealing with it for years--years before Obama. What else could be hidden in PC drives that we don't know about? If there's a scandal here, I doubt the culture that allowed it was one that was just cooked up during the current administration. This is a culture that could have gotten away with lots of smaller stuff first. One that could date back a decade or more. This may very well be one of many trees in the forest. Feel free to bark up this tree, but best to send a bunch of dogs barking up the rest of the trees in the forest, too. If there's a prize in one tree, most likely there's more in others. Unless, of course, you're afraid of what might turn up elsewhere. Could this culture turn up juicy morsels from prior administrations, too? How far back? It's much easier for a vital hard drive to turn up crashed if you have an organization that has cultured such stuff for a long time.

I'm not big on conspiracy theories. I'm even less so on conspiracies cooked up in just a short amount of time. Obama just hasn't been in office long enough to develop things to this extent. If it's a conspiracy, the mechanisms exploited have been there for years. Otherwise, you wouldn't have had so many mouths closed for so long while this was going on. Things outside the norm have a better chance of causing flags to raise than things that are SOP.

Carlos Ponce

You are right about the IRS. I think it's time we replace the current Income Tax with a simplified tax system and pare down the huge bureaucracy which is IRS. Read this report dated January 2, 2002:
The IRS has lost or misplaced 2,332 laptop computers, desktop computers and servers over three years, according to a recent report by Treasury Department auditors. They concluded it's a persistent problem: The IRS has "reported a material weakness in inventory controls" every year since 1983.
http://archive.wired.com/politics/law/news/2002/01/49615

Kevin Lang

I'll bet this isn't isolated to the IRS, or even Treasury. I don't think that DoD, HUD, Energy, Education, HHS, DHS, or any of the other federal organizations are models of information accountability. I seem to recall Reagan taking a stab at improving efficiency and accountability when he was in office, but he never finished it, and I don't think that anyone since has taken much of a stab at it.

I'll bet if we just cleaned up the accountability and efficiency of our government, we might be talking about surpluses. We probably wouldn't be talking about slashing welfare programs merely to make a debt in the deficit. From my point of view, the biggest "welfare" program we're paying for, by far, is the waste in the government, and I'd bet that it's ROI is much lower than the one people harp about.

PD Hyatt

Mr. Ponce you know as well as I do that this adminstration in Washington is always doing things that are not exactly legal and they push the envelope to the point that they do not bend the rules they break them.... Add to this fact that we have an AG Eric Holder who like you said will NOT prosecute anyone in this adminstration as he is blind in both eyes to what they are doing.... He does look at all returning Vets as NONE of this adminstration trust anyone who is in the military or has been in the military or anyone who does not trust them. Even when the SCOTUS slaps them down they will not stop.... Now Obama is going to bypass Congress again and write more EO's to make laws and give himself powers without Congressional approval....

Victor Krc

"Plausible Deniability" - the last refuge of scoundrels.[tongue]

Victor Krc

Better yet, the FIRST refuge of political scoundrels,

Carlos Ponce

Surprise, surprise, surprise!
"Government lawyers have told a watchdog group suing over the Internal Revenue Service scandal that Lois Lerner’s emails aren’t missing after all."
http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2552425

Carlos Ponce

Why little news reports that Lois Lerner's BlackBerry was deliberately destroyed after the start of congressional probe? Coverup aided by the media?
http://cnsnews.com/commentary/hans-von-spakovsky/seriously-irs-says-lois-lerner-s-blackberry-was-wiped-clean
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/386337/irs-destroyed-lois-lerner-blackberry-after-congressional-inquiry-began-never-searched
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/27/lois-lerner-blackberry-deliberately-destroyed-after-start-congressional-probe/

George Croix

In case you haven't noticed, Carlos, the usual suspects have been given the approved talking points to repeat that the IRS abuse is juts another phony scandal.
They believe that because they were told to by the phony President...[wink]

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